The Frankfurt auto show will see debuts of key electric vehicles such as Porsche’s first series production EV, the Taycan, and Volkswagen’s mass-market battery-powered hatchback, the ID3.
The ID3, a compact hatchback that is based on the VW Group’s MEB electric-car platform, has been described as rivaling the Golf and the Beetle in terms of strategic importance for the company.
Porsche’s Taycan, which is aimed at the Tesla Model S sedan, will be a big draw. Mercedes-Benz will preview a large sedan that will top its expanding ranges of EVs.
"It is hard to overstate how important both these cars are for their respective manufacturers," said Tim Urquhart, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit.
VW needs the ID3 to present "a compelling choice for buyers that would never before have even considered buying an EV, a true electric people’s car," he said.
The ID3 is spearheading the VW car brand's "hugely ambitious" overall EV strategy, so it needs to be "right" straight out of the box, with none of the niggling quality issues that have affected other high-profile EV launches recently, Urquhart said.
Besides the ID3, other EVs aimed at the mass market will be Opel’s Corsa-e electric subcompact and the Honda e minicar.
This year’s show will be a far more compact event than in previous years because of some major absentees.
Among automakers that are skipping the event to focus their marketing money elsewhere are Toyota, Peugeot, Citroen, Nissan, Kia, Volvo, Ferrari and all Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ brands.
But the show will not be just about trendy EVs. Frankfurt’s showstopper is likely to be the reborn Land Rover Defender.
Here are some of the key debuts that will be unveiled on Tuesday.
Audi says its AI:Trail offroad EV concept will preview an "electrically driven off-roader of the future." The AI:Trail is Audi's fourth EV concept that looks at how autonomous driving will reshape transportation over the next 10 years.
Audi will also debut the A1 Citycarver, an SUV-styled version of its subcompact hatchback with ground clearance raised by about 40mm for easier entry and better visibility.
A RS6 performance version of the Audi A6 wagon with a mild-hybrid V-8 engine will also be unveiled, heading what Audi describes as a new wave of RS products. One of those is the new RS7. Audi is saving the debut of its latest A3 for a stand-alone event after the show, reports said.
BMW has plenty of new production models making their show debuts, including the new front-wheel-drive 1-series hatchback, the latest X6 large coupe-styled SUV as well as the station wagon version of the 3-series midsize model. The four-door Gran Coupe version of the 8 series will also be shown. In addition, BMW could unveil the new 4 series, which is the coupe version of the latest 3 series, media reports suggest. Show visitors will get their first look at the Vision M Next hybrid supercar concept, unveiled at a press event in June.